Interview with Curve Magazine’s Silke Bader

Halfsize Silke Bader Photo

Silke Bader


Today, we are fortunate to interview Silke Bader, owner of Avalon Media, which publishes CURVE and LOTL, both print and digital magazines that cater specifically to lesbian readers around the world.

CURVE and Ylva Publishing recently entered into a new working relationship together, which will involve shared content and advertising between the two companies, as well as special offers for both companies’ readers.

Silke agreed to talk with us about her beginnings as a German discovering the lesbian community in Australia, how motorbikes led to her owning two of the biggest magazines in the world for lesbians, and the new connection between Ylva Publishing and CURVE.


1)      So, you run an international publishing firm with multiple magazines based in different countries. Where do you call home, and why do you live there?

Sydney, Australia. And not by default! I moved to Australia in 1990 from Germany at the tender age of 23. Home is where your heart is—and Australia got my heart instantly. It’s a country full of opportunities, real and rough around the edges, topped off with natural wonders.


2)      When and how did you first get involved in the world of publishing? What did you do beforehand? What made you decide to get into the publishing world? What made you decide you wanted to stay?

My journey in Australia is almost too cliché to tell! When I arrived I could hardly speak a word of English, started my first job washing dishes while trading on the side in motorbikes. A lot of backpackers I lived with at the time didn’t have time to sell their bikes for a good price—I offered to sell it for them, getting a small cut. I did enjoy this little venture, as at one stage, I had five different bikes at my disposal. While I was dealing in motorbikes—I ended up working at the backpackers travel desk—which eventually led me to open up my first proper business: Silke’s Travel, a travel agency specializing in the lesbian market. I became involved in the LGBT community on a business level—and eventually was approached to purchase the local lesbian magazine Lesbians on the Loose (LOTL) in 1999.

In the same year, I met my partner Tanya. Ten years on, I was cemented in the Australian lifestyle, both on the work and home front.


3)      How did you become the publisher of CURVE?Logo for Curve Magazine

From a very early stage in my publishing career, I had the ambition to create a global lesbian publication. First, I launched an international digital magazine LOTL INTERNATIONAL, which I promoted throughout the Asian market. I was very successful—we had approximately five hundred new sign-ups per day. After six months, we changed to a paid subscription model, and the whole project collapsed. This was during the high of the “everything was free on the Internet” phase; it was very disappointing.

A few years later, I made the decision to launch an international Lesbian print magazine called BOUND. It was a huge success. We ended up with an impressive distribution network and sales contract that included the US, Europe, Asia and Africa. In the first year of BOUND, Frances Steven, founder of CURVE, approached me to purchase CURVE. I saw an opportunity to merge BOUND with CURVE, which would save time and money for the future.


4)      How would you describe your mission as a publisher?

My mission in sixteen years of publishing has remained the same—regardless of changes within our community and outside. While we have won some battles of equality, I am a firm believer that regardless of our acceptance, the need for visibility will always be important. Hence my mission statement was and is “to provide quality lesbian content across various platforms, to reach and engage lesbians across all backgrounds and cultures.”


5)      CURVE celebrates its twenty-fifth anniversary this year. What are the biggest changes you’ve seen since you’ve began with it?

The shift from print to digital is the one that affects us as a business most, and we have adapted to it. This change has come with many hurdles and challenges. The end result is that while most publishing companies struggle or even close their doors—we are communicating with more women than we ever have before. Changes on a cultural or community level are also plenty: the last seven years have been an explosion of lesbian literature, movies and music.


6)      What do you think is important about the existence of magazines like CURVE?

In my mind, it creates community. The original need for magazines like ours have been to inform women of “where the next dance is on” or report on injustice or victories. Then came the advertisers, then came LGBT businesses, which needed to advertise through LGBT media—community groups, Pride festivals—who could reach the community through our media. Until Facebook, our media was an essential part of connecting the community. Today, the basis of our existence is more varied—connecting community and providing an established and recognized voice to fight for equal rights and visibility through print are elements that define us now.


7)      What do you look for when your writers come to you with story pitches? What makes you think, “Yeah, that’s something I really want for CURVE?”

There are always a few points that are part of the consideration:

First, is it a hot topic? If so, is it different than what we’ve already covered? Second, what are the images like—a good image can speak a thousand words. Third, is it a topic that we haven’t covered yet and might be of interest to our readers? Fourth, is it advertiser friendly?


8)      What are CURVE’s accomplishments that you are most proud of?

Our interactive app available on Google, iTunes and Amazon: we are ahead of our time, and being able to offer such an app—for a business our size—is a huge achievement


9)      We live in a world where rights continue to be gained for lesbians in many countries—work and housing rights, the right to marry, to adopt children. We see more lesbians on TV and film than ever before, in smart, realistic portrayals. More women feel comfortable being out at work, to their friends, to their neighbors. How does that change CURVE’s way of doing things, if at all?

Even in a time of more acceptance, the visibility of lesbian media is crucial. Any community craves to be represented and to connect with each other. CURVE will provide a steady stream of information and will enforce the visible aspect that is not shown in mainstream media. A very important part of our work!


10)   What made you interested in this connection between Ylva Publishing and CURVE? How do you think it will benefit CURVE?

Over the last three years, the requests for book reviews have been steady and rising. We needed to streamline the demand, which Ylva Publishing is assisting us with. It’s wonderful to work with an international publisher like Ylva, because they have a worldwide perspective and reach, which allows us to expose our readers to a great variety of lesbian fiction from all over the world.


11)   What other initiatives for CURVE can we look forward to in the near future?

We will always have to stay on top of digital developments. On another front, we are looking into launching CURVE in other languages, including Spanish and Mandarin.


12)   Thank you for answering our questions, Silke. One last question: who out there inspires you?

Judy Dlugacz from Olivia cruises.



Share this Post!

About the Author : Michelle Aguilar

1 Comment

  1. Devlyn August 31, 2015 at 09:27 - Reply

    Awesome and informative interview, I learnt a great deal.
    Thank you. I always did enjoy LOTL when it was available for purchase in print but haven’t gotten into the online version or Curve YET.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.